Canisius Edges Siena in MAAC Semifinals

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NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. 12 days ago in Buffalo Siena struggled in a 19-8 loss to Canisius. Today, the third-seeded Saints gave the No. 2 seed Golden Griffins all they could handle but came up just short in an 11-9 loss in the MAAC Semifinals at Mazzella Field on the campus of Iona College.

Siena ends a successful campaign 8-8, while Canisius improves to 13-5 and advances to their second MAAC Championship Game in program history at noon Sunday against the winner of today's second semifinal between top seed Fairfield and No. 4 seed Iona.

Siena dominated the early segments of both halves scoring seven of their nine goals within the first six-plus minutes of each stanza. After the Griffs opened a 1-0 lead on a Theresa Walton goal 1:21 in, the Saints responded by erupting for four goals in just 88 seconds.

Michelle Andreo, Deirdre McQuillan, Katie Maguire and Erin Hepper all scored during the barrage to give the Saints a 4-1 lead at the 24:26 mark. McQuillan added an assist on Hepper's goal, making her just the seventh player in program history to eclipse 100 career points.

But the well went dry for Siena as they went scoreless for the remainder of the first half and Canisius chipped away at the lead. Walton put the Griffs back on top, completing a run of four unanswered goals by Canisius with a free-position score with 19 seconds remaining to make it 5-4.

With little time remaining in the half, the Saints won the ensuing draw control and got a great look at tying it up, but Caitlin Mikel's shot went ringing off the post to keep it a 5-4 Canisius lead at intermission. It would be the only shot of the game for Mikel, who entered the day as the team's leading scorer.

But much like the first half, the opening minutes of the final stanza greatly mirrored the start of the game. The resilient Saints again responded with three quick goals in just 2:35 to reclaim the lead at 7-5 with 23:58 to go.

Unfortunately the Saints would once again go cold thereafter as Canisius battled back with four unanswered goals of their own yet again to go back on top 9-7 with 13:36 left.

Twice the Saints would climb back in it with goals to pull within one, but both times Canisius pushed the lead right back to two and was able to salt away the clock and Siena's season.

McQuillan had one of the finer performances of her career, leading the team with five points including a hat trick. Maguire added three points and Hepper and Andreo each contributed two goals for the Saints which fell to 1-3 all-time in the MAAC Championships.

Canisius' three-headed attack of Taylor Gray, Carly Quinn and Megan Oosting, who entered the day as the MAAC's top three scorers and one of just four trios in the nation to score 50 or more points, was mostly held at bay thanks to a very strong performance by the Siena defense.

Gray did finish with a hard earned two goals and four assists, but Quinn and Oosting were mostly non-factors thanks to the tremendous play of the Saints' back line most notably Burgandy McCurty and Amanda Peguillan. Additionally, Kristin Concordia was stout once again in goal recording nine saves.

The Griffs were buoyed by their midfield which scored eight of their 11 goals, led by Walton who finished with a hat trick. After a slow start, Allison Daley rebounded in goal to make nine saves as Canisius won for the 12th time in its last 14 games.

Siena now says goodbye to a quartet of seniors which was the winningest class in program history and led Siena Women's Lacrosse to new heights. Nonetheless, the Saints return a strong core of eight starters next year as they look to take the next step of winning a MAAC Championship.

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